Monday 16 July 2018

Meet Derry model Joanna Cooper - the beauty queen who stole Conor Murray's heart

Conor Murray, left, and Joanna Cooper, right
Conor Murray, left, and Joanna Cooper, right
Conor Murray arriving at Aviva Stadium for the Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Italy at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Model Joanna Cooper. Picture: Instagram
Model Joanna Cooper. Picture: Instagram
Model Joanna Cooper. Picture: Instagram
Model Joanna Cooper. Picture: Instagram
Miss Ireland Joanna Cooper at Miss Universe in 2015
Conor Murray of Ireland scores his side's second try during the Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Italy at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Eimear Rabbitt

Irish rugby heartthrob Conor Murray is officially off the market - and the beauty who has stolen his heart is none other than model Joanna Cooper, the Herald can reveal.

Joanna represented Ireland in the Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas in 2016 and has since established herself as a busy model, represented by the Andrea Roche modelling agency in Dublin. She moved to London last year to pursue her rising modelling career full-time and counts ASOS as one of her consistent clients - shoppers will often spot the 23-year-old modelling petite looks on the website.

Model Joanna Cooper. Picture: Instagram
Model Joanna Cooper. Picture: Instagram

Also on the books of agencies in the UK and Paris, she also recently worked for Agent Provocateur and is a busy commercial model. Conor and Joanna were spotted leaving the Ireland team's hotel The Shelbourne on Sunday afternoon, after celebrating Ireland's 56-19 victory over Italy at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

She later celebrated with the team and their partners, including Johnny Sexton's wife Laura and Rob Kearney's glamorous girlfriend, UCD pharmacy student Jess Redden.

Joanna, who stands at 5'5", is originally from Derry and studied journalism at Belfast University.

Her turn at Miss Universe was a memorable one and after being crowned to represent Ireland just a week before competing in Las Vegas, Cooper said it gave her confidence she never knew she had.

Conor Murray arriving at Aviva Stadium for the Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Italy at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Conor Murray arriving at Aviva Stadium for the Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Italy at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

"I didn't know whether to enter or not - I wasn't sure about my height, but mum said 'do it' and made me to go for it," she told the Belfast Telegraph. "The other contestants in Vegas were all towering over me, but I didn't let that intimidate me.

"I was the smallest, I always am, but I came back more confident in myself. I was always with these amazing, tall glamorous girls, but I still felt I fitted in. I didn't feel isolated, I felt I belong. The president assured us we all deserved to be there."

She previously dated fitness instructor David Murdock for three years and Conor previously dated Irish model Shauna Lindsay.

Miss Ireland Joanna Cooper at Miss Universe in 2015
Miss Ireland Joanna Cooper at Miss Universe in 2015

Herald

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